FC Dallas hasn’t won a game since Atlanta on April 20th. The winless streak has seen the club lose to Houston, the Red Bulls, and LAFC, and has seen the club tie against LAFC and San Jose.
The losing streak has come at a time where the roster has been spread pretty thin. With the second game against LAFC, FC Dallas was missing eight players either to injury or to international duty. Plus, with the Gold Cup and the U20 World Cup coming up during the summer, there will be a shortage of player for Luchi to pick out.
Performances haven’t been great either. The games that are part of this winless streaks have all looked less and less like Luchiball, and more like a variation of Oscar Pareja’s style.
The club has had a summer swoon almost every year, most famously the death spiral that was the summer of 2017. Most years the fans have been disappointed with some type of dip in form in the summer due to the same reasons that the club is losing games now.
The schedule isn’t going to get any better. The next couple of games are Vancouver away, Sounders at home, San Jose away, and Toronto at home. Just from this set of games, the team would be lucky to get six points.
It’s very difficult to root out a solution from this, but it’s pretty clear that what has been attempted as possible solutions in the last couple games has not worked.
One issue that is very clear is the lack of a defensive midfielder. Acosta and Hayes aren’t as defensive minded as Gruezo and Cerrillo, who both will be out for the next couple of weeks for international duty. The team is also missing Servania for the U20 World Cup, meaning that the team has no defensive midfielder available.
Playing Acosta and Hayes didn’t really work, especially in the first game against LAFC, which the club lost 2-0 in the Banc of California Stadium. There was way too much movement in the middle of the field, as neither was able to cover much ground. Gruezo and Cerrillo cover the entirety of the field to protect the mistakes of the other players. Without this protection, in games against powerful attacks, the defense hasn’t always been able to keep out the opposition. In this five-game winless streak, the club has conceded 8 goals.
Although there has been a shift away from Luchiball, it hasn’t truly been a digression. The club has still attempted to possess the ball when going on the attack. However, especially in the game against New York, the pressing and counterattacking style of the team was too much to bear for FC Dallas. The defense wasn’t able to keep out the constant attacking bombardment.
The solution to this isn’t very clear. There is currently no one on the roster who can cover as much ground as Cerrillo and Gruezo. Currently, the club seems to be looking at Sunny, a 30-year-old defensive midfielder who was released by RSL last winter. There are many options in North Texas SC or in the Academy but the current situation can’t continue if the club wants to start winning before the regiment comes back from duty.
The other issue that the club has is the lack of energy in the attack. Paxton Pomykal has become an integral part of the team. His continued covering of the field allowed for the team to possess on the attacking half of the field. Without the high press that Paxton offered, the club possesses mostly in the defensive half, being mostly static and not creating a lot of chances.
This was mostly seen in the game against Houston. The team had 64% possession but weren’t able to break through the lines of the Dynamo. With Paxton’s press, the team would have been able to possess higher up the field.
The solution is mostly cut and dry. The team has more than one player, and the constant press isn’t required. But the lethargic feel of the team in the last couple games, especially in the latter part of the games, is when teams have been able to catch FC Dallas off guard. Maybe it’s tired legs or a result of the rotation that has been occurring, but these factors have affected results.
There shouldn’t be too much worry. From the beginning, we knew as a fanbase that this would be a trying year. It’s amazing that we are able to have this conversation at this point of the year.
However, it will say a lot of the new management if there isn’t a plan set in place to attempt to fix the issues. Blindness is something that most fans do not care for, and this is Luchi’s first test in a difficult situation. He is being judged on how he remedies the problems that are facing the club for the coming month.
Like it was stated before, the next stretch of games starts off with Vancouver, another team that is in its experimental stage, but unlike Dallas, is starting to find its feet. It will be an interesting game to watch
Featured image: Bigdsoccer.com